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Marcus, Joseph A.
Cooperia pedunculata Herbert
Hill Country rain lily, Prairie lily, Rain lily
Synonyms: Zephyranthes drummondii
USDA Symbol: COPE
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
Rain lilies pop up and bloom two or three days after good rains in the spring and early summer. They begin to open slowly about dusk and are fully opened the next morning. Flowers are trumpet-shaped for a few hours after opening, but the 3 petals and 3 sepals, all white, spread widely to 2 inches across as they mature; they last only a day or two. The fragrant blossom is at the top of the single, unbranched stem, which is 5–9 inches high. The leaves are at the bottom, 6– 12 inches long and 1/4 inch wide.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf Complexity: Simple Size Notes:
1-1.5 feet. Leaf:
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug
Bloom Notes: Tends to have a main spring bloom season after significant rains trigger blooming with sporadic blooms that may occur over the rest of the growing season.
LA , TX Native Distribution:
E. & s.w. TX & adacent Mex. Native Habitat:
Prairies; open woodlands USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Clay. Clay Loam. Medium Loam. Sandy Loam. Limestone-based. Caliche type.
Conditions Comments: These bulbs produce blue-green grass like leaves with slightly fragrant, shimmering flowers, mainly in spring, that have a color that evolves over two days from white to silky light pink. Rain lilies make for nice surprises after a rain and combine well with plants that have short foliage, such as cardinal feather and silver ponyfoot. In flower beds, meadows, and pots, these rain lilies grow easily from bulbs. The flowers will last a little longer in shade. Plant 8 inches deep for more flowers. Plant 4 inch/shallow to increase the bulbs. This species typically blooms in the Spring, while C. drummondii blooms in the Fall.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Perennial
garden, Showy, Shortgrass meadow, Can be mowed Fragrant Flowers:
Fresh seed or mature bulb
division. Seed Collection:
Collect seed several weeks after strong rains mainly in spring when they are near dry stage. Seed Treatment:
seed is not viable for too long after collection. Do not store long before planting. Commercially Avail:
none to speak of except tidy up dead foliage and spent flower stalks if desired. Takes care of itself once established.
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Herbarium Specimen(s)NPSOT 1019
Collected Apr 8, 1995 in Bexar County by Mike FoxNPSOT 0258
Collected Aug. 15, 1992 in Comal County by Mary Beth WhiteNPSOT 0579
Collected Mar 29,1990 in Bexar County by Harry Cliffe
Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-0127
Collected 2007-06-25 in Travis County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower CenterLBJWC-33
Collected 2006-04-04 in Travis County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
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Record Modified: 2007-01-01
Research By: TWC Staff, GDB